From Having Your Boiler Inspected to Arranging a Fuel Delivery: How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Published: Fri, 29 Nov 2019

From Having Your Boiler Inspected to Arranging a Fuel Delivery: How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

The winter months bring a lot of joy to many, from the dazzling colours of bonfire night to the weeks-long celebrations of Christmas. While there’s plenty to look forward to, the long dark nights and cold weather can be hard to deal with day in day out. Keeping your home warm is essential during the months of winter, both for your own comfort and to stave off coughs and colds. Most of us rely on central heating, but there are plenty of other ways to ensure your home stays cosy when it’s cold. 
 
Whether you have a boiler, rely on heating oil or have an open fire, it’s important to be prepared before the cold snap really hits. With this in mind, see below for our handy guide to preparing your home for winter. 
 
Why is it important to keep your home warm?
Cold weather can actually be bad for your health; it thickens the blood and can lead to increased blood pressure. Breathing in cold air can also increase the risk of illnesses like chest infections, so it’s important to stay warm both inside and outside. 
 
The Met Office recommends that you should heat your home to a minimum temperature of 18 degrees centigrade during winter, especially if you are elderly, have mobility problems or an existing health condition. In these cases, it might be safer for you to heat your home at a slightly warmer temperature.
 
The cold affects your body’s ability to fight off illnesses and infections, so it’s also vital to keep your home warm to stay in good health. A cold home can also encourage the growth of damp and mould, which is both bad for your health and it can weaken the structure of your home. 
 
How to prepare your home for winter
As you can see, having a cold home can have a negative effect, but it’s very easy to ensure your house stays warm and cosy if you’re properly prepared. Below we will look at some of the best ways to prepare your home for winter, from making sure your boiler has been serviced, to thoroughly insulating your home. 
 
Arrange a boiler inspection
Ideally, your boiler should be serviced annually to make sure everything is safe and in good working order. It’s a good idea to book a boiler inspection before the cold really sets in (around September) to make sure it will function properly when winter comes. A problem with your boiler can lead to more expensive heating bills, a dangerous carbon monoxide leak or an uncomfortably cold home. 
 
A Gas Safe engineer will make sure your boiler is working safely, efficiently and effectively, and a boiler service only takes around 45 minutes to an hour. 
 
Stock up on heating oil
There are around 1.1 million homes in the UK that aren’t connected to the national gas grid, and if you’re one among them, you’ll know that heating oil is needed instead to heat your home. Home heating oil can be delivered to your home by a fuel supplier, and it’s important that you make sure you’re well-stocked before winter comes. 
 
There are two different types of home heating oil - gas oil (also called red diesel), or kerosene - but kerosene tends to perform better in cold weather. It’s best to think ahead and buy your heating oil in the summer as prices tend to be lower, and you don’t want to risk running out mid-winter and finding that deliveries are delayed due to bad weather. 
 
Make sure you have home insurance
One of the best ways to protect your property during the winter months is by making sure you have adequate home insurance. Winter can bring a host of bad weather, including heavy snow, ice and strong storms which can cause a lot of damage. Not all home insurance policies cover storm damage (but many do), so check with your insurance provider before going ahead. 
 
Check your pipes
Central heating pipes have a tendency to freeze over or burst during winter, so it’s a good idea to have your pipes inspected to make sure there are no cracks or damage. You can also take steps to insulate your pipes to reduce the chances of them freezing over when the temperatures drop. 
 
Signs that your pipes are frozen include; a trickle of water instead of a steady stream from your taps, if the pipe has visible frost on the outside, or if there’s an unusual smell coming from your taps or drains. 
 
Insulate your home
There are many ways to insulate your home, and you should pay particular attention to areas like the loft or cellar. Most new lofts are already insulated, but you may need to upgrade or replace the insulation materials. Proper insulation prevents heat escaping from your roof, saving you money on heating bills and keeping the house warm overall.
 
You should also look out for gaps in floorboards if you have them; use rugs to cover gaps, or add sealant to cracks and insulation beneath the boards. A thermal leak detector can be purchased quite inexpensively and can be used to help you identify any cold spots in the house. 
 
You can insulate further by adding thick curtains to your living room (choose heavy fabrics like velvet or lined curtains) and adding draught excluders to plug gaps under doors. 
 
Repair roof tiles
Holes in your roof can bring leaks into your home and you’ll also lose a lot of heat through any gaps left unrepaired. Cracked or missing roof slates can be easily fixed by a professional roof contractor and they can also perform an inspection to make sure there are no other roof issues you may have missed. Again, it’s best to carry out these repairs in late summer/early autumn before icy conditions make repairs difficult. 
 
Bleed your radiators
You can tell a radiator needs bleeding if it’s cold at the top and hot at the bottom when the heating is on. ‘Bleeding’ a radiator means releasing any air that has become trapped in the system. To bleed a radiator, turn the heating off and make sure you have a cloth and the bleed key. Find the valve at the top of the radiator and twist it anti-clockwise until you hear a hissing sound; this will release the trapped air and you can tighten the valve back up once water begins to drip out. 
 
Put your heating on a timer
Putting a timer on for your heating can work wonders when it gets really cold; set it so the heating is on for 30 minutes to an hour before you get up so the house is nice and warm. Turning the heating on frequently on a timed basis can also help warm up the pipes and prevent them from freezing over. It’s a good idea to leave the timer on even if you go away over Christmas to make sure pipes don’t burst. 
 
If you’re looking for reliable home heating oil or fuel delivery, get in touch with the team at Southern Fuels. We offer competitive home heating oil prices and are ready to deliver the quantity you need at a moment’s notice. We supply heating oil for domestic boilers, commercial boilers, hot water heaters and more, as well as commercial fuel and lubricants for a wide number of industries.
 
If you’re looking for a local fuel supplier in Honiton and want to arrange a fuel delivery, give us a call today or find out more on our website. 

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